The popularity of sailing as a competitive sport has grown considerably in the last few years.
The select group of boys that train up to three times a week on Bray Lake now have a full calendar of fixtures throughout the year.
With a squad of over 20 boys to choose from, Mr Alston and Dr Moston field teams that compete against other schools as the year builds up to the British Schools’ Championships, a series of regattas across South and Middle England. Eton sends two teams to these events and is becoming steadily more successful – last year the team won their division and came second out of fifteen in the Thames Valley British Schools’ Event.
Boys can start sailing from scratch and there is a popular beginners/intermediates course in the Michaelmas Half. The race training also starts with matches against other schools up to Long Leave and then more thoughout the Lent. In the summer half training starts to focus on the regattas. Training sessions use the short amount of time wisely, focusing on manoeuvres and racing skills, from starting a race to line tactics.
Age is not really a factor, Mr Alston explains – “there is a role for everyone – the main thing is to be a part of the team”.
What of the future – well there are some very good helms in this year’s F block which looks promising for future years. The key for the club will be to develop these boys into a championship team.
And beyond Eton? There is a huge sailing community which the boys join when away from Eton, a strong group of University and club sailing to look forward to.
“What sailing at Eton does is to continually develop the boys’ skills and introduce the sport to boys who might never have considered it as a sport – it is a great example of one of Eton’s successful minor sports” explains Bill Norton, Head of Games.